The second youngest of seven children raised in Kilkenny one of Majella’s earliest memories was her first day at school at the age of 4; the children were asked to either talk or sing – Majella chose to sing and standing on a table proceeded to sing “The Streets of London” over and over and over again!
Majella never got the hang of school, to put it in her words she “couldn’t fit into that box” she did however excel at Art and Sport, she also did well in music before getting kicked out of the class. Majella could never make plans for Tuesday afternoons – while the rest of her school mates were off enjoying themselves her Tuesday afternoons were always booked for detention. It was during these detentions that her Vice Principle recognised something in her and encouraged her to write – she became a prolific short story and poetry writer. As well as detentions she had a fair few periods of suspension perhaps the most controversial reason was when she and a friend polished off two bottles of altar wine and ended up in Accident and Emergency.
Majella grew up listening to the music of her older brothers and sisters – Tracy Chapman, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Indigo Girls and loads more. At the age of sixteen she was given her first guitar and music completely took over, she taught herself to play and started writing songs. She played with other people – watched, listened and learned, she started busking and playing in bars.
Day jobs have included working on a Christmas Tree Farm……..in January, Barmaid, Mac Donald’s Assistant and perhaps the pinnacle of her career managing to work her way from Trainee Manager to shelf stacker in a leading supermarket chain. The jobs she has enjoyed most involved working with children, she has an empathy with them perhaps because she is a child at heart.
To relax Majella fishes. She’s a keen dry fly fisher and spends many weekends during the summer months fishing lough Corrib, Pontoon and Achill. Her idea of a “dirty weekend” is getting covered in mud on the banks of various rivers and lakes around Ireland. She’s also a proficient longboarder, and skates nearly every day from the top of Killiney Hill to Dunlaoire and back. When asked why she replied, “It’s cheaper than the gym, more fun than a ride in Disneyland and is the most instantaneous form of meditation I’ve ever come across. If you’re not in the moment on this thing you’ve got two smashed front teeth”.
A true free spirit – Majella once went to Cork for a day and ended up staying for four years – she now lives in Dublin.
On her debut album ‘Brave New World’ released on CD and download on November 3rd Majella sings about real life regrets, joys, hopes, disappointments and aspirations in her versatile, pure yet powerful and beguiling voice, often with a hint of humour. Songs such as “Lunchtime” a poignant modern love song, the happy, carefree, optimistic “Dreaming” and the powerful “Mary Jones” where Majella sings of Mary’s insecurities, her hiding from the world and pleads with her not to give up, assuring her there is hope and she is not alone – Majella believes there is a bit of Mary Jones in all of us.
She recorded her album in Nashville, successfully mixing her unmistakeable Celtic blood with the American country sound that can only be pulled off in Nashville. Her opening track, Baby’s Broken Heart written by the renowned legend Jimmy McCarthy has a twang to it that makes you want to get to know the young girl behind the music. Majella wrote 11 out of the 13 tracks herself, penning the songs from “one bedsit to another, from poor to destitute at times”.
Majella is an intelligent songwriter and charismatic singer with a definite glint in her eye. There is a lot more to come from this wonderful singer, songwriter and performer.